Culture

Made your 200-year plan yet? 3 other majorly long-term projects

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Do you have a 5-year plan? A 10-year plan? Even if you’ve mapped out your life 20 years into the future, chances are that multidisciplinary artist Raghava KK has you beat. Giving a laugh-inducing talk at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Raghava explained that he and his wife, Nedra, have drawn up a life plan that covers the next two centuries.

“Our friends think we’re mad, our parents think we’re cuckoo … But we both like to live larger than life,” he said. “Two hundred years, we calculated, is the end of our contact with the world. We thought: That’s the perfect place to situate our plan and let our imaginations run wild.”

So what’s in this 200-year plan? Watch the talk to find out. And check out these three other projects with ambitious timeframes — plus a list of TEDTalks to get you thinking long-term.

The 10,000-year clock
Stewart Brand thinks that part of the problem when it comes to how humans treat the planet is that we think of “now” as a very short-term thing. And thus, he created the Clock of the Long Now, which could keep good time until the year 12012 — and no, that is not a typo. “It would be helpful if humanity got into the habit of thinking of the ‘now’ not just as next week or next quarter but as the next 10,000 years,” explains Brand in a TEDTalk about the timepiece.

The 176-year experiment
In 1927, Professor Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland Brisbane began the “pitch drop experiment,” designed to show his students that some substances that seem like solids are actually liquids. Parnell poured hot tar pitch into a sealed funnel, let it settle and solidify, and opened the funnel neck three years later. And waited. The first drop of tar fell from the funnel in 1938, and it continues to drip very, very slowly. The eighth drop fell in the year 2000, and the ninth drop is expected in 2013. Watch a live feed here.

The 52-day foot race
Many people gawk at the idea of running 26 miles — a standard marathon — while others look at it as an accomplishment they need to complete once. Few would ever attempt the Self-Transcendence 3,100-mile race, certified as the longest footrace in the world. According to the events’ website, runners must average nearly 60 miles per day to finish within the 52-day limit.

More TEDTalks about long-horizon events:

The oldest living things in the world
Rachel Sussman travels the world shooting photos of its oldest living things — ancient lichen, corals and trees that have existed for hundreds of years.

How to live to be 100+
Dan Buettner visited communities around the world where people routinely outlive the norm — and found some striking similarities. He shares the secret of a happy, long life.

Is this our final century?
The UK’s Royal Astronomer, Sir Martin Rees, takes the very long view of human evolution — but asks if we’ve gone too far down a road that could lead to self-destruction.